Our farmland has the unique and significant ability to drawdown and store carbon through the photosynthesis process. In addition to crop plant photosynthesis (productivity), agricultural carbon banking comes from inputs such as crop residues, animal manure incorporation, no-till farming, and cover crops. Because of soil’s carbon cycling properties, mounting scientific literature indicates agriculture has the potential to offset its own GHG emissions and become a net carbon sink, meaning the potential exists for agriculture to bank more carbon than is emitted each year.
Through climate-smart agriculture practices, farmers and ranchers can optimize production, improve resiliency, minimize fertilizers and other inputs, improve water use and quality, all while storing carbon in their soils for future generations. While climate-smart agriculture, or CSA, may be a relatively new term, climate-smart farming practices are not. Soy farmers have already incorporated many of these climate-friendly steps into their seasonal farming routines:
Check out this 2020 video on soybean farmers’ Carbon Smart Soy Farming Practices Video from USB, including messaging from ASA.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most commonly-produced greenhouse gas. A carbon sink sucks up and stores CO2 from the atmosphere. Sinks can be any reservoir, natural or otherwise, that absorbs more carbon than it releases, thereby lowering the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere. The main natural carbon sinks are plants, the ocean, and soil. Plants grab carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to use in photosynthesis; some of this carbon is transferred to the soil as the plants die and decompose.
Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change. The two major types of carbon sequestration are geologic and biologic. Find out more from the Interior Department’s U.S. Geological Survey.